Mumbai civic body plans to clear cowsheds from Dahisar river bank and reduce water pollution
Cowsheds located on the banks of Dahisar river are likely to be removed soon, as part of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Rs750 crore river water quality improvement programme.
The BMC has already sent notices to 25 cowsheds asking them to relocate. Meanwhile, washermen who use the dhobi ghats on the river bank, will be allowed to continue using them only provided they build a sewage treatment plant to treat the dirty water.
This is the first time that the civic body is taking action against cowsheds and washermen near Dahisar river, though locals have made several complaints since 2015.
In April, the BMC proposed to appoint a consultant for its river water quality improvement project and for the beautification of three rivers — Dahisar, Oshiwara and Poisar — at a cost of Rs209 crore.
It has also floated tenders to improve water quality of Mithi river; the first phase of programme is estimated to cost another Rs111.42 crore. The project is divided into four phases, and expected to cost around Rs 539.73 crore.
Ramakant Biradar, assistant commissioner of R-central ward, said: “I have given the 25 cowsheds a month’s notice to relocate. We are also inspecting more cowsheds, and notices will be sent soon. The washermen have also been given a month to build a sewage treatment plant. They use bleach on the clothes, and that water drains into the river untreated. This has affected the water quality, and has killed nearly all marine life in the river in the area.”
Following a week-long inspection earlier this month, the BMC has dug a pit along the banks of Dahisar river so that washermen drain their water in it before it flows into the sea. “This is a temporary solution as they cannot stop doing business. But they will have to build a sewage treatment plant within a month if they want to continue,” he said.
Back in 2015, former Mumbai mayor Shubha Raul had raised the issue of Dahisar river pollution by cowsheds and washermen in the BMC.
Gopal Zaveri, co-founder of River March, a river clean-up movement, said: “This is the first time that action is being taken by the ward on cowsheds which dump cowdung into the river. There are some more issues that we have raised regarding the pollution of Dahisar river, such as untreated waste from sewer lines that gets dumped in the river. We expect a follow-up soon.”